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compulsion neurosis

The compulsion neurosis is one of several manifestations of neurotic functioning discussed and interpreted by Adler.  According to the Ansbachers, Adler came to see the compulsion neurosis as "apparently the prototype for all [neuroses]" (Superiority and Social Interest, p. 112). Adler's statement, "[The compulsive develops] his inclination to prevent his defeat by proceeding to a secondary theater of operations and eliminating the compulsion of life by a counter-compulsion" (supra, p. 116), could form the interpretive basis for any neurotic malfunctioning.  Alder's unified theory of mental illness (that mental illness derives from faulty styles of living based on perceptual and conclusive errors of the young child) supports a unified interpretation of all maladaptations as a variety of unique individual counter-compulsive responses to the "compulsion of life," that is, to the demands of the community for cooperation and contribution.

Excerpted with permission from Griffith, Jane & Powers, Robert L.